Spencer Fordin of MLB.com has posted an excellent review of the Blue Jays' draft this week. They used 64 percent of their picks on pitchers, and 86 percent on players with at least some college experience -- only seven high-schoolers were tabbed. Toronto selected just two Canadians; they had chosen Aric Van Gaalen, a 6'6" lefty from Edmonton, 16th in 2002, and after a year of junior college, took him again this year, but in the 37th round. Paul Marlow, a 6'7" righty from B.C., is another draft-and-follow candidate as a 46th-rounder.
Also from the Official Site, Fordin talked with J.P. Ricciardi about first-rounder Aaron Hill. Asked about drafting a SS in the first round for two straight years, the GM certainly didn't consider it a problem:
"For all you guys that saw Russ Adams in the spring, the feedback that I got was you liked him. I think you'll really, really like this guy," Ricciardi said to the media. "We'll keep playing both of them at shortstop. If some day they have to play together, one of them flips over. It gives us two real good athletic guys that are going to be offensive players and fit into our philosophy."
Hill, it turns out, has already played in SkyDome back in high school, and seems delighted to be on the verge of joining the organization. It doesn't sound like there will be any problem signing him, but for now, the LSU star, Player of the Year in the SEC, probably the NCAA's best conference, is more concerned with this weekend's Super Regional and the College World Series in Omaha.
Here is the complete list of Toronto's picks, featuring brief scouting reports on many of the players, and even some interesting video clips of selected individuals, including Hill and #2 pick Josh Banks, a pitcher quite similar to Jason Arnold.
For an event that isn't televised, even on one of the obscure cable networks, there sure is a lot of interest in the first day of the baseball draft. The MLB servers were overwhelmed by demand for the live audio and video feeds, and crashed early in the proceedings. Baseballamerica.com also had its busiest day of the year by far, and was down at one point. Both sites recovered in time to provide excellent coverage. The draft discussion on Primer had more than 500 comments, and Batter's Box drew well over 100 in our team-specific thread, with a record number of hits for one day (over 1,500) pushing us past the 80,000 mark. We hope to bring you more insight into the draft process, the Jays' selections, the farm system and a wide range of other topics in an upcoming exclusive interview with Keith Law. Stay tuned.